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Even as children grow older, physical contact remains a significant way to communicate caring. On a summer day, Erik, our three-year-old neighbor, accidentally locked himself in and his mother out of the house. As his mother drove off to get help, I heard Erik crying. I went over to be near him. As I talked to him through the screen door, he began to calm down. " So I went with him to the front steps of his home where I had sat talking to him through the screen door until his mother returned with his dad.

This is authority that protects the young. It is not the kind that people battle and resent. Children can get mad for the moment, but that doesn't weigh heavily against the security of protection. It is rather sad that the word authority more often than not brings to people an association of something unpleasant, something to be escaped or outgrown.... No one knows better than children how much they need the authority that protects, that sets the outer limits of behavior with known and prescribed consequences.

When Nate was fourteen and in junior high, we received glowing reports from his teachers at conference time. I was amazed at Nate's ability to transcend his early years of disruption and rejection. " It was an unexpected reply as well as humbling. Later I was confiding with my friend Lucy, "I am so aware of my many mistakes as a parent. " Lucy responded, "Oh, I can think of lots of things you did that helped Nate know that he is loved. " I had purchased a large Christmas nativity set at an after- Page 26 Christmas sale and then set it aside to paint later.

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The Brownie Program (Girl Guides of Canada)

by Thomas

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